I just started running a campaign. The players defeated some goblins, and I want to get a sense of how much gold their were carrying. Their gear is described as "NPC gear", and when I go to the relevant section of the Core Rulebook, said rulebook lists amount of gp to spend on armor, weapons, etc. However, I'm not creating a NPC here but trying to get a sense of what the rulebook says about much gold these creatures had...

What do people recommend? Do I say the creatures have however much gold is in the "gear" column? Can they (or do they have to) sell the gear the creatures were wearing against a corresponding amount of gold? What do people typically do? Thanks.

  • \$\begingroup\$ No. The goblins at the beginning of Rise of the Runelords, actually. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 4, 2017 at 1:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ sorry, didn't see the [pathfinder] tag \$\endgroup\$
    – enkryptor
    Commented Oct 4, 2017 at 9:44

4 Answers 4


Use the NPC Gear table and compare to the listed gear actual value

“NPC gear” indicates the monster has treasure as normal for an NPC of a level equal to the monster's CR.

A Goblin is CR 1/3. The NPC Gear table has no entry for levels lower than 1 but it's easy to take the amount for level 1 (260gp for a Basic NPC, which most monsters should be) and divide by 3 (about 86gp)

The Goblin entry lists its NPC Gear as:

Treasure: NPC gear (leather armor, light wooden shield, short sword, short bow with 20 arrows, other treasure)

Totalling up everything (except "other treasure" of course) gives a value of 54gp. You could thus assume you have 32gp (86-54) of wiggling room. Either give them about 30gp or an item worth about that much.

Budget treasure based on total XP

But better yet, I'd suggest budgeting treasure based on the total CR of an encounter, or even of all the encounters of your adventure (or sections of it if it's really long).

If you plan to have the following encounters:

  • 3 Goblins (135 XP each, 405 total)
  • 2 Goblins (270 XP) and 1 Goblin Dog (400 XP) (670 total)
  • 1 Hobgoblin (200 XP), 2 Goblins (270 XP) and 2 Goblin Dogs (800 XP) (boss battle?) (1270 total)

This totals up 2345 XP. If you look at the Experience Point Awards table, you will see that this is equivalent to a CR of 6 if it was one big encounter.

To aid in placing treasure, the amount of treasure and magic items the PCs receive for their adventures is tied to the Challenge Rating of the encounters they face

Table: Treasure Values per Encounter lists the amount of treasure each encounter should award based on the average level of the PCs and the speed of the campaign's XP progression (slow, medium, or fast). Easy encounters should award treasure one level lower than the PCs' average level. Challenging, hard, and epic encounters should award treasure one, two, or three levels higher than the PCs' average level, respectively.

Admittedly, I do not follow this perfectly. I prefer to align the CR of an encounter with the Average Party Level listed in the Treasure Values Per Encounter table. I'm pretty sure "challenging, hard and epic" mostly corresponds to CR = APL+1, +2 and +3 anyway.

So, our total XP equivalent to a CR 6 encounter ? Look up the APL 6 line in the table and check the treasure amount for your desired track speed. Let's say you go with Medium progression speed, that's 2000gp.

Once done with all these encounters, the party is expected to have earned, somehow, 2000gp. That's your treasure budget for all these encounters. Now you try to spread this value across all of them. You can split evenly, or make one big treasure hoard the PCs get to after all these encounters, only earning meager or no treasure along the way.

Do take into account NPC Gear value if your players usually pick it up and sell it. In our case, if we expect the PCs to sell every piece of gear they find, we should remove 54gp per Goblin (their NPC Gear value we calculated earlier), 125gp per Hobgoblin and nothing for Goblin Dogs as they have no default treasure at all. That's 54 x 7 Goblins + 125 x 1 Hobgoblin = 503gp of NPC Gear, leaving us with 2000 - 503 = 1497gp as actual treasure besides NPC Gear.

Again, how you "use up" this budget is up to you. You can spend it on upgrading NPC Gear, turning a regular weapon into a Masterwork version (usually +300gp value), or adding various treasures such as potions, gems or simply gold to a treasure chest or some loot bag lying in the goblinoids' lair.

If you add to NPC Gear beyond their Bestiary entries, keep in mind the NPC Gear table. Your Hobgoblin, at CR 1/2, isn't expected to be carrying much more than 130gp (260/2) in gear. If you go way beyond, things might get tough for the party.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ One important point (was even part of the rules in 2nd edition, if I remember correctly) - There's normally a difference between what a monster will carry around on a hunting trip or military patrol, compared to what you'll find in its layer (camp/village/what have you). In the example above, it might feel more believable if a goblin patrol will be armed and armored, but won't carry much gold on them - their gold will be in their layer, where, aside from some guardians, most goblins won't necessarily carry shields, swords and bows on their person - but keep them in an ""armory" of some kind... \$\endgroup\$
    – G0BLiN
    Commented Jun 14, 2014 at 19:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ @G0BLiN: Agreed. For verisimilitude and variety's sake, it's a good idea to adapt equipment and the nature and location of treasure to fit the context of each adventure. \$\endgroup\$
    – leokhorn
    Commented Jun 15, 2014 at 8:14

The rules for appropriate treasure per encounter is here under Treasure Values Per Encounter. The Placing Treasure section makes it clear that this is in addition to their gear:

Encounters against NPCs typically award three times the treasure a monster-based encounter awards, due to NPC gear. To compensate, make sure the PCs face off against a pair of additional encounters that award little in the way of treasure.

But of course these rules just guidelines,and you're welcome to give them whatever makes sense to you/your game world.

Gear is usually sellable at half price, but "smelly goblin clothes" may be at somewhat more of a discount beyond that.


I don't follow any actual rules for gold, and generally, I don't give out much - the real value is in equipment (Dragons being the main exception).

Your average soldier in any historical or fantasy setting, might have some reasonably valueable equipment, but they won't carry much cash on them.

According to this http://www.enworld.org/forum/showthread.php?322812-Economy-and-D-amp-D, your average soldier has a monthly wage of 6 gp, most of which will be spent on a variety of soldierly pastimes. Even assuming the soldier is walking around with an entire month’s salary, which is about the equivalent of walking around with what, $3000 in cash in today’s money? It will still barely be noticeable compared to how much you could get from selling a chain shirt, longsword, and steel shield.

Goblins will probably be less well equipped than that, but will have a lower monthly wage too.

Even more powerful humonoids will be similar. Look at a player’s character sheet, tens/hundreds thousands of gp worth of magic items, and still only shrapnel in their pockets.


In the Jade Regent Adventure path players are rewarded 10 gold pieces as a bounty for each relatively fresh goblin ear they bring back. If I had to put a price I would say 10gp per goblin is a good amount, and if your PC's are really strapped for cash then they can always sell the chain mail, dog slicers, short swords, etc.

I personally do not like to keep gold on NPC's, because it tends to reward the players who are capable of looting the body first, and that tends to leave half the party out, or the gold is never easy to divide among all the party members. I prefer to use the Character Wealth Per Level chart http://paizo.com/pathfinderRPG/prd/gamemastering.html#table-12-4-character-wealth-by-level to determine how much the PC's should have by a specific level, and then offer quests rewards to get them there.


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